Women’s March LA – 2018

I arrived at the Women’s March VERY early with my staff because it was important to show support for what women, minorities and immigrants are facing in this country. While I was chatting with all of the wonderful men and women who came to march and protest, my god-daughter sent me a text that she and her friends were somewhere in the madness at 20 strong. I was more than proud of her because millennials are the group that will be negatively impacted the most with this administration’s policies. I was also proud of all the women, men, teens and younger kids gathering to make this year’s march a success, as well as to make their voices heard, not just in this country, but around the world.

If my mom were still alive, that first sign above referencing the 1960s, is the one she’d be holding. She believed in equality, was a staunch feminist and would have been at this march, or some march across this country. But she also would have been thoroughly pissed-off that we’re back at square one. But believe this, we’ll make it right mom, one day soon! We cannot and must not continue to allow history to keep repeating itself.

Today women and our allies, came together across this nation and around the world for the Women’s March. Let’s get something done. Rallies and protests are great, but we need to come together as a cohesive unit every single day and not just one day out of the year. I don’t want my nieces, god-daughter or any young girl in and outside of this country, to still be fighting the same fights we’re fighting today, and the fights our ancestors thought would be in my generation’s rearview mirror, against an extremist, patriarchal government who wants to have total control over women, our reproductive rights and how high up the ladder of success we can go. Our gender should NEVER be a deciding factor on any achievement in our lives, and our bodies and what’s inside of them, are our own to govern. The Handmaid’s Tale is a work of fiction and we should never EVER allow something like that to become a life imitating art moment.

As for immigration, everyone should be welcome in this country no matter what race, creed, ethnicity or religious affiliation. The Statue of Liberty says: Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

There’s no caveat in that statement which says you’re only welcome if you’re White. This is only one of a multitude of reasons why we’re marching, protesting, resisting and signing people up to vote. The very heart and soul of this country is dependent upon reclaiming our right to call ourselves decent and moral people. We cannot and will not allow a small group of racist oligarchs and kleptocrats to reverse the progress we’ve made in the US regarding race, religious freedom, immigration and women’s rights just because they long for a bygone era of White Male Supremacy. The buck stops with each and everyone one of us and by now, we should have all had ENOUGH!

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Commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. and His Enduring Legacy

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“Racism is still that hound of Hell which dogs the tracks of our civilization” – Martin Luther King Jr. in 1967 from his speech Where Do We Go From Here.

Today we commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. who was prophetic and could clearly see the future of this country. Here we are in 2018, revisiting what King and others during this era, hoped would be in our rear-view mirror. We can still ask – “What happens to a dream deferred”? We have been plunged into a battle between good and evil, twisted and antiquated ideologies on race and gender, versus progressive, forward thinking regarding diversity and equality for all. We’re at the crossroads of our morality as a nation; if we ever want to stand on moral high-ground again, we must be better, do better and cast aside those who are dragging us into the abyss of hatred and injustice.

Martin Luther King Jr. has been gone for almost 50 years, and I feel that he would weep with sadness, and be consumed by the horror at how this country has regressed after the light of hope was cast across this nation with the election of Barack Obama, our first Black President. We have allowed racists and bigots to once again, overtake the good and decent denizens of the United States of America, and we must slay this insidious dragon once and for all if we are ever to fulfill the vision Dr. King had for our country and the world.

Let us not forget his partner in life as well as in the cause, the great lady, Coretta Scott King.

“Freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others”. –Coretta Scott King.

She continued King’s legacy and because of her, he will never be forgotten and neither will she. Coretta Scott King is also the one who wrote the letter warning about Jeff Sessions racist leanings, yet Trump appointed him Attorney General, so Trump’s denials and platitudes ring hollow as always.

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As we navigate the hate-filled terrain in our country, we need to remember that “WE THE PEOPLE” have choices. You see this photo, it is from the March on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his powerful “I Have a Dream” speech. We can make this happen again. Millions of us have had enough of the vile racism, bigotry and divisiveness coming from Trump and his agents of evil. The only way to put this administration on the ropes and to make a permanent change in this country, is to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. The time for action is NOW! Don’t allow all of those who fought and died for freedom, justice and equality, to have their sacrifices be in vain.

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“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly,” – Martin Luther King Jr.

The Wails of Our Ancestors

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Let’s be clear; sane, intelligent people know exactly who Trump is by now. If you don’t, then obviously you’ve been living in a cave for the last year. When Trump gave his first press conference in regards to the Charlottesville tragedy, that was exactly how he felt and who he is. Then that pathetic 2nd press conference was forced and he meant none of it…that wasn’t who he is. Yesterday’s press conference where the REAL racist Donald Trump emerged, supporting violent White Supremacists, Neo-Nazis, Alt-Right and KKK criminals, should put a period at the end of the sentence for every decent person in this country. But on cue, we have his Black plantation brigade coming out in full-force to defend the indefensible.

 

Yes, these men and women have every right to put their trust in Trump and believe whatever they choose. However, we have a right to pull their Black cards and put them squarely in the box with the rest of his despicable surrogates. They are not grounded in reality; they seem to have developed amnesia about history and they can never be trusted because they’re as Malcolm X so succinctly put it, “the house negroes”. They’ll sell-out anyone and everyone who dares to challenge their “massa”. Each and every one of them are still on the plantation, yet think they’re making these decisions on their own volition…they’re not. They’ve been manipulated, brainwashed and seduced by those in a system designed to find our weaknesses and exploit them.

Though they may dress well, eat well, fly around on massa’s private jet, attend events with massa and massa may put a few coins in their pockets, but they’re still massa’s slaves. They seem to relish in the fact that they’re dancing with the devil and disrespecting all of the people who fought and died during slavery, segregation and Jim Crow. Those brave, strong and powerful men and women risked everything including their lives, in order to make sure that future generations would never have to be subservient to anyone, and have all of the rights and freedoms afforded to White Americans. Lynne Patton, Pastor Darrell Scott, Gerard Robinson, Paris Dennard, Bruce LeVell, Diamond and Silk and so many others in and around that administration, have jettisoned any semblance of morality, and these Black men and women have literally made our ancestors weep.

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The Chatter, The Scoodie’s Sister Podcast was with Award-Winning Photojournalist Haywood Galbreath

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The Chatter, which is the sister podcast of The Scoodie,  was honored to interview Haywood Galbreath. He is the first African-American owned news photo service to have permanent credentials in a major court case and invited to participate in the court case photo pool and that case was the infamous “Crime of the Century”, the O.J. Simpson Murder Trial.

Haywood’s career has been spent working for the rights of media access for all qualified media organizations, especially minority owned media organizations that are often denied the privilege to cover events about minorities. He is also an advocate for the underprivileged and underrepresented in America.

A few more of his professional highlights:

First African-American owned news photo service to cover the celebrated Emmy’s from inside the auditorium. (1997)

First African-American owned news photo service to cover the prestigious Breeders’ Cup horse race. (1997)

First African-American owned news photo service to be pool photo in a major court case Geronimo Pratt the Black Panther member who was wrongly accused of murder hearings.

Only African-American owned news service to have a continuous field position for the Super Bowl.

Covered special events for the last five presidents of the United States including Presidents: Barack Obama, George Bush Jr., William Clinton, George Bush Sr. and Ronald Reagan.

Link to Interview: https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/thechatter/episodes/2017-06-30T14_46_25-07_00

#haywoodgalbreath #OJSimpson #Photojournalist #Entertainment
#SydneyChandler #Publicist #Journalist #JenniferThompson

Russia DOES Matter…You’d Better Understand Why

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I’ve seen countless interviews with Trump supporters, and even when confronted with his abundance of lies, blame-gaming, FACTS and treating the presidency as a reality TV show, they’re still 1000% in his corner. Unfortunately, we all must chalk them up to a mystifying loss; not worth wasting additional time, energy and brain cells on…they’re heading toward the cliff, so at this point, we should mercifully allow them to take the plunge.

I’ve also encountered those saying that while we’re focused on the Senate Intel Hearings and Russia, the Republicans (our real-life Sith Lords) are in stealth mode, drawing up a newer, more deadly plan for their Death Star of a Healthcare Bill. YES, I firmly agree that we need to keep our eyes on what they’re doing because whatever it is, it won’t bode well for the American people. NOTHING Republicans in this modern era, ever does.

But to insinuate that the intelligent among us can’t multitask, is insulting. Most of us know exactly what we need to do to keep the pressure on the Senate, House and this administration. However, RUSSIA is an immediate, dangerous threat, and this should scare and alarm the HELL out of people. They were able to breach our security grid to the extent that it probably affected our 2016 election and severely damaged our Democratic process. Without Democracy and the rules of law and order, the US would be reduced to being a combination 3rd world autocracy and kleptocracy.

What the American people need to desperately and IMMEDIATELY understand, is if a foreign government got this far within our once thought-to-be impenetrable system, especially a government that is and will more than likely always be, an enemy of the United States, they will continue to attempt to breach our security until they eventually find a way to succeed. If the worst case scenario happens, it will shut this country completely down and life as we know it will cease to exist. That is not alarmist thinking, it’s a very real possibility.

These “hackers” aren’t some disaffected youths sitting in their bedrooms, breaking into random systems just because they’re smart enough to do so. These operatives are a network of well-trained, well-educated intelligence and IT professionals, whose only job is to infiltrate and take-over every system in their target countries, and the “big fish in the pond is the US”. Mull that over for a second.

Russia has been interfering in government elections all over the globe, and being that the US is considered their equal in military might and intelligence, what better coup could Putin have than bringing this country to its knees? If his operatives are successful, they could shut down all of our communication and financial systems. Then turn their attention to aviation, utilities, government installations, intelligence and military operations…there are endless possibilities of what kind of havoc they could wreck, that will have far-reaching ramifications and repercussions not just for us, but globally. As the US goes, so does the rest of the world.

Hijacking our elections and healthcare would be way down on the food chain with what the people in the US would have to deal with in this apocalyptic scenario. NO, it does not sit well with me that 23 million people would lose their insurance and the disabled, seniors, veterans, women and those with preexisting conditions, would be negatively impacted by this inhumane and insidious Healthcare Bill. BUT, we are living in dangerous times and just as Angela Merkel said “Europe can no longer completely depend on the US”, and it is an absolute certainty that the American people CANNOT depend on this current administration to do what’s right for this country as it pertains to Russia or for that matter, anything else. We can’t even depend on our president to tell the truth. That is a testimony on just how far this country has fallen into the abyss.

I wish there were some gigantic mirror that could be held up so that each and every American could look at themselves and really see who it is we’ve become. There was a time not too long ago, that if 1/16th of what is happening in this country now had occurred then, the American people would clean house. If there was any hint that a foreign government and Russia being that government, breached our security and American politicians were perhaps involved in treason, collusion and obstruction of justice, the American people would be demanding, not asking, but DEMANDING either an investigation or swift and decisive action. Now we have heads buried in the sand, an abundance of excuses, rampant ignorance, blind loyalty and some segments of our society almost cheering for Putin. No words for that last one.

What happened America? You swore for decades you were better than this, only to find out that you actually weren’t.

Humankind Lost?

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We can no longer be sure who the heroes and villains are because they appear to inhabit the same space; coexisting as one entity to serve each other for personal gain and benefit. If good and evil have morphed into one, then what does that say about the future of humankind?

We’ve become a terminally destructive people who refuses to learn from past mistakes. We’re in a perpetual state of disruptive chaos and it appears that humankind is at its happiest when it devours the weak, destroys the helpless and decimates the human spirit. Why?

Are we simply genetically predisposed for mayhem or have we fallen victim to the constant indoctrination that tells us only the richest, strongest and most malevolent are fit to lead, because being kind and decent gets you nowhere? Has this way of thinking propelled humankind to create and lurch from one crisis or act of savage barbarity to another, in order for us to get some sick satisfaction with flexing our muscles and proceeding to destroy everything and everyone in our path?

It’s become abundantly clear that human beings apparently have no working on and off switch.  We don’t know how to maintain happiness, peace, calm and prosperity for very long. We say we want egalitarianism, yet our actions say otherwise. We say we hate war, yet will use any excuse to start one. We’ll tell anyone who’ll listen, that we want to save the planet, help the sick, the poor, the infirmed, the homeless, children and animals, but only if it’s convenient and we can benefit from our pseudo-humanitarianism and bourgeois charitable endeavors.

We look at good people either as those to fear, feel sorry for or take advantage of. We worship at the temple of money and excess, yet vilify the wealthy. We say we hate big government, yet we need everything that the government has to offer. We drone on and on about electing politicians that truly represent the people, but many will dismiss those who actually do and elect the ones who will do the most damage. We value our freedoms, yet will dictate to others about their personal choices and decisions.

So my question is quite simple: WHO ARE WE REALLY?

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Raising the Minimum Wage…Why Not?

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Today I was reading where Gov. Jerry Brown backed a plan to raise California’s minimum wage to $10.00 an hour by 2016. A number of Los Angeles-area business groups criticized the legislation, saying it would unfairly burden companies. And according to the article in The Huffington Post – Los Angeles, Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, called the hike “obscene” and said it’s unrealistic to increase wages 25 percent in two years.

Well isn’t that special and of course the requisite reasoning for these businesses objections is that the legislation is done by people who don’t understand business. And they would have to pass the costs along to their customers and clientele. HOGWASH!! or BULLSHIT!!!!, you choose. California’s minimum wage is $8.00 which is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. However, states like Washington ($9.19) and Oregon ($8.95) are  higher.

Most of those who support this legislation says that the hike will add about $4000 annually to a worker’s paycheck thus with the extra money, they can infuse the local economy with much-needed revenue.  How bad can that be?

I feel the problem is not that employers aren’t able to pay employees a fair living wage, it’s that many of these multimillion dollar businesses simply don’t want to. Many of the owners are motivated by greed; they’re money-whores. They have been allowed to cruise for decades with hiring illegal immigrants, low-balling wages, paying no health insurance to many of their employees ( and this is done by keeping the employees below what would be considered full-time) and in some cases,  inciting an atmosphere of fear. Their stance, because of the over-saturation of unemployed people and illegal immigrants willing to work, is that all of their employees are expendable. If the employee puts up a fuss, then SEE YA! And the reality is that they will probably have that position filled within a few days, if that long.

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I  saw a couple of months ago where the owner of the restaurant chain Mr. Chow, Michael Chow, sold his small mansion, and I’m gagging at the idea of a “small” mansion, and bought a behemoth. Michael Chow is apropos of many of these business owners and restaurateurs who are out there putting up a stink about minimum wage. And I use him as example because he comes from affluence. His father is a renown Chinese actor and his mother comes from a very wealthy family. This is why most of those business owners have no clue. They’ve never had to work for minimum wage, they’ve never had to travel for hours to and from work and they’ve never had to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. They don’t have to figure out how to pay for glasses, braces, clothing, food, shelter, school supplies and college. That’s a given for them.

Many hop into their Rolls Royce Phantoms, Bentley’s, Jags and what not,  leave work and pass by their employees standing at the bus stop, and don’t even see them because they’re invisible and go home to their mansions in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, the Hollywood Hills or wherever they decide to lay their expensive hats and handbags. Unfortunately, most couldn’t care less if they tried about their employees plight.  I have seen many domestic helpers coming out of the Hollywood Hills on foot, down perilous hills, around dangerous curves all the while their employers were luxuriating at their plush, palatial estates.  You would think that knowing their helper doesn’t have a car, they could at least take them to the bus stop. Oh Hell no, what was I thinking.

According to CNBC, California is number 9 on the list of where the wealthiest 5% in the nation lives.

Percentage of millionaire households in 2011: 6.01%
Millionaire households: 750,686
Total households: 12.49 million

To me this is obscene. I don’t begrudge anyone their hard-earned success, but a lot of the wealthiest people’s success comes from family wealth and connections. It puts a person WELL ahead of the game when you have everything in place to succeed. It’s the same with housing. We have an influx of new apartment complexes going up here in Los Angeles almost every few months, but the vast majority of working people can’t afford to live there. The rent is starting in most places, anywhere from $3000, $6000 to upwards of $13,000 a month. Who are these millionaire/billionaire developers building these complexes for if it’s not for their own ilk?

Even with a minimum wage increase to $10.00 an hour, most people still have to live in undesirable neighborhoods or way out in the Valley where the apartments are cheaper, but there’s stiff competition to rent the ones in better neighborhoods. Living in the city where it’s convenient to everything…within walking and short driving distances to supermarkets, pharmacies and shopping complexes, FORGET IT, unless you have stayed put in a rent stabilized apartment for years.

It saddens me to know that we are fast becoming a nation where fiction is now becoming fact. We are moving toward the Dystopian societies of the films Elysium and Soylent Green. The gap is widening between the rich and poor and the middle class is being slowly squeezed out of the equation entirely. So I ask again,  why not raise the minimum wage to something where people can live comfortably with some semblance of dignity and respect? Well I guess raising the minimum wage would mean the wealthy just couldn’t buy another expensive toy…and we can’t have THAT, now can we?

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